This is the slow part of the year. SLOW. The NBA playoffs are on, but my team isn’t in there. Major League Baseball is in full swing and the Texas Rangers are leading the West, but it’s May. There are four months left in the regular season, so it’s hard to get excited. As far as football goes, there is nothing going on. NOTHING.
Every college in the country is either finishing or starting finals, meaning every football team at every school is on a break. They are in the middle of the dead period between the spring semester and the start of the summer off-season program and the only news is usually bad: someone has transferred, gotten arrested or otherwise made headlines for something off the field. But right now that’s not even happening (not that I want it to). Football magazines don’t come out for another few weeks, teams and players are off the radar and there is nothing going on.
Well, I guess college baseball is going on. SOMEWHERE ELSE. The Longhorns are terrible and there is no way around it. Texas is 6-15 in Big 12 play and in last place in the conference. The top eight teams make the Big 12 Tournament and right now Texas sits at No.9 (Iowa State doesn’t play baseball). Texas trails 7-14 Texas Tech for the No.8 spot by a 1 ½ games as the Red Raiders own the head-to-head matchup after beating Texas twice in their 3-game series. Texas needs to sweep TCU and needs Baylor to sweep Tech to get that last spot in the post-season tournament. There is no other way for Texas to get in; meaning a loss to TCU in two weeks and the season ends even earlier this year than it did last year. And then there’s the whole Corey Knebel soap opera. It certainly isn’t out of the question that Texas could make a run, but the odds are high the season ends May 18th.
So, like I said, not much going on. Let’s take a look on campus
Around the 40
- Rick Barnes added another big-time talent to next year’s basketball roster with the signing of Martez Walker . The 6-foot-5 shooting guard from Detroit Pershing High School is long and athletic and can fill it up. If you are paying attention, all four kids Texas has signed this spring are guards.
- The softball team is ranked No.6 in the nation and second to ou in the Big 12. Texas has one game left, Senior Day, on May 12th against Baylor. It’s your last chance to see pitcher Blaire Luna in the regular season, so get out there if you can.
- Texas guard Julien Lewis still has not committed to leaving or staying at Texas next year. The super-young Texas Longhorns will once again be super-young in 2013-14 with the oldest player being junior-to-be Jonathan Holmes.
- The Horns continue to blow it up on the golf course. John Fields was named the Big 12 Coach of the Year, senior Cody Gribble and sophomore Kramer Hickok were named All-Big 12 and freshman Brandon Stone won both the Newcomer of the Year and Big 12 Player of the Year awards. Stone is the only the fifth player in conference history to won both awards at the same time, but he’s the second Longhorn to do it in two years (after Jordan Speith last year). Stone is currently ranked No.2 in the nation. The Horns prepare to defend their National Title in Regional play beginning May 16th.
- Seniors Desiree Debreuil and Katelyn Sepmoree both made the Women’s Golf All-Big 12 Team and the ladies are off to Auburn for the NCAA Regional Championship this weekend. They are seeded No.8 and received an at-large berth into the field after finishing 6th at the Big 12 Championships.
- The men’s tennis team heads to College Station for the opening rounds of the NCAA Tournament, while the women, 2013 Big 12 Champions, head to Charlottesville, VA to play in the NCAA First Round against William & Mary.
You know me, so you know that eventually everything returns to football. Including this. As the Texas football team heads to the summer, several former members of the Texas football team are headed to new towns to start their professional career in the NFL. Let’s take a look at what went down.
The Horns had three players drafted, as expected, at the NFL Draft and two more sign free agent deals. Let’s take a look at it.
Kenny Vaccaro, 1st Round (15th overall pick), New Orleans
Homerun pick by the Saints, who were bad at defending the pass and needed a physical presence that could also cover. Vaccaro fills the role, showing the ability to cover like a corner and make plays on the ball as well be a vicious run-support safety that fills.
I expect him to walk in and start from day one and become an All-Pro in the secondary for many years to come.
The only downside I see is the fans wanted a monster, Brian Orakpo-like sack machine at defensive end instead of a 5-tool safety. Once they see him play and see his emotion they will be fine, I expect.
An added bonus: Kenny Vaccaro highlight reel – I recommend mute at the office.
Marquise Goodwin, 3rd Round (78th overall pick), Buffalo
The Buffalo Bills are getting ripped to shreds for their questionable draft decisions, but that has nothing to do with Marquise Goodwin. Goodwin went earlier than most experts predicted because of one of the two un-teachable things in sports: speed (the other one being height). He posted a 4.27 40-yard dash at the NFL Combine, which was three-hundredths off the fastest time ever at the Combine (4.24, Chris Johnson, 2008). You knew someone would fall in love with that speed and a 4-year body of work, and that someone was Buffalo.
He will join former USC wide out Robert Woods to form a young, fast dynamic duo that can make plays. Woods is your more traditional wide out at 6-foot-2, 190 pounds that will work the middle and outside, while Goodwin at 5-foot-9 is perfectly built for the slot in the NFL.
Now if that new qb can just get him the ball …
Alex Okafor, 4th Round (103rd overall pick), Arizona
I am by no means a draft expert and I am admittedly biased, but I was shocked that Alex Okafor went so late. I’ve watched him play every game for four years and saw him excel outside as a freshman, move inside to tackle in 2010 where he played well before moving back out to end in 2011 and 2012 with little consistent help on the other side. He was All-Big 12 in ’11 and ’12 and led the league (No.9 nationally) in sacks per game (.96) and had 12 ½ total on the year. The offensive tackle at Oregon State will have nightmares for years because of what Okafor did to him in the Alamo Bowl last year. The guy just makes plays and I don’t understand why it took so long for someone to see that.
The Cardinals saw that and picked him, where he’ll line up opposite former Longhorn Sam Acho. Both Okafor and SAcho are athletic enough they can drop into coverage or rush from a 2-point stance, giving the Cardinals the ability to run a 3-4 or 4-3 defense at will.
SAcho will enjoy the help on the other side and both former Longhorns should benefit from the other being on the roster.
Speaking of the Alamo Bowl.
DJ Monroe, Free Agent, Tampa Bay
If there is a guy that ignites the online Longhorn fan base more than DJ Monroe, I don’t know who it could be. For three years Texas fans screamed for more DJ Monroe so often that at one press conference Mack Brown said something like, “We are talking about a backup running back.” But there was cause for those questions as Monroe was electric, averaging 13.4 yards per touch and owning the entire record book for kickoff returns at Texas. Now he’s off to Tampa.
The Buccaneers signed Monroe to a free agent contract and, if I had to guess, he’s going to do something amazing in the pre-season that will have everyone in Tampa wondering, “Who is this guy?” and the burnt orange internets ablaze with, “Why didn’t we use him more?”
Brandon Moore, Free Agent, San Diego
I have it on good authority that the Texas staff and team were pretty shocked when Brandon Moore, the junior college transfer, left school to turn pro. I don’t think anyone really expected him to be drafted with such a limited body of work, but he left anyway. And, to no one’s surprise, he was not drafted. At 6-foot-5, 320 pounds, he’s a massive man that flashed big-time game occasionally, but nothing that you would consider dominant.
The San Diego Chargers took a chance and signed him as a free agent, reportedly to a three-year deal that will be contingent on him making the team, which is a long shot.
But was it over when the German’s bombed Pearl Harbor? No! I’m with you, Brandon, let’s gooooooooo!
It was a pretty quiet draft with so many young guys on the roster, but dreams came true for three guys and the opportunity to make something happen is there for two more.
I have to go watch Animal House now.